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J Acoust Soc Am. 2013 Mar;133(3):1546-60. doi: 10.1121/1.4789940.

Rate and onset cues can improve cochlear implant synthetic vowel recognition in noise.

Author information

  • 1Hearing and Speech Research Laboratory, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of California, Irvine, California 92697-5320, USA. myles.mclaughlin@uci.edu


Understanding speech-in-noise is difficult for most cochlear implant (CI) users. Speech-in-noise segregation cues are well understood for acoustic hearing but not for electric hearing. This study investigated the effects of stimulation rate and onset delay on synthetic vowel-in-noise recognition in CI subjects. In experiment I, synthetic vowels were presented at 50, 145, or 795 pulse/s and noise at the same three rates, yielding nine combinations. Recognition improved significantly if the noise had a lower rate than the vowel, suggesting that listeners can use temporal gaps in the noise to detect a synthetic vowel. This hypothesis is supported by accurate prediction of synthetic vowel recognition using a temporal integration window model. Using lower rates a similar trend was observed in normal hearing subjects. Experiment II found that for CI subjects, a vowel onset delay improved performance if the noise had a lower or higher rate than the synthetic vowel. These results show that differing rates or onset times can improve synthetic vowel-in-noise recognition, indicating a need to develop speech processing strategies that encode or emphasize these cues.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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